All this thinking about what to wear when the sun returns has got me thinking about some of the most exciting collections I saw in the autumn. So, bucking all fashion industry rules I’m talking about the Spring season just as it’s about to kick in. And of course just before we see what we’ll be wearing next winter on Menswear day in February. Confused? Oh well, with global warming who knows what season we’re in anyway?
I had the pleasure of seeing the Casely-Hayford 2012 collection twice in the fall: once a delightful walkthrough with Mr Charlie Casely-Hayford in person, and once in the refined atmosphere of The Showroom Next Door.
“I don’t NEED to know what the suits are made of”, commented one female (presumed) journalist on the stairs above The Lincoln Room, deep within The Savoy Hotel, “Well I do, replied her colleague, “I have to write about this stuff!”. Given you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that as men we really do care about what we wear, and whilst certain quarters of the fashion press still think of men’s fashion needs in the third person, with men to be passively shopped for and “kept on trend”, luckily the greater part of the audience for the E.Tautz presentation on Wednesday looked to be much more likeminded, sharing an expectation that we were about to see beautiful menswear and to be educated about it by Patrick Grant.
Menswear Day at London Fashion Week is always a visual feast, as much for the unparalleled opportunity to see dressed up men of all kinds parading Somerset House and it’s environs, as for anything presented more formally by the designers. Some features will follow on collections I’m particularly excited by for SS12, but here are just a few highlights from yesterday.
For the benefit of newcomers, particularly readers in the UK, Duckie Brown are a menswear label based in New York designed by partners Steven Cox and Daniel Silver. They are noted for a very European, if not specifically English take on menswear, despite being very much a New York phenomenon. Recent collections have been seen to push the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable in terms of American menswear, particularly in the use of colour and fabric and how this might impact on the perceived sexuality of the men who wear it. These themes are explored candidly in the recent film The Guts of Duckie Brown. The partnership also has a very successful and ongoing collaboration with the classic American shoe brand Florsheim.
For all of this and more, one of the main reasons I wanted to attend NYFW this season was to attend the Duckie Brown show. As my flight arrived too late to attend the early-in-the-schedule show on the first afternoon of fashion week, Daniel and Steven were kind enough to invite me to their studio for a chat and to see the collection in person the next morning.
I’d been told that the show was ‘much darker than anything you’d imagine from Duckie Brown’, and on hearing me repeat this, Steven was quick to clarify that one of the factors influencing the outcome of this collection was that his mum had died last week. Needless to say, the Spring collection had been put together during a difficult time for them as individuals and as partners and co-designers of Duckie Brown.
Given that I hate Golf about as much as I hate anything you may be surprised to hear my enthusiasm for the particular detail, as surfaced via Prada‘s recent SS12 catwalk show. Prada‘s “Golfwear”: loud print cocktail trousers and shoes bearing a strip of fringed leather known in America as a “kiltie” (as opposed to a tassel) were deemed one of the more outre of the season’s menswear looks. Personally, I’m enthralled by the opportunity to wear colour, print and any option to focus on a particular detail on a shoe makes this footwear addict very happy indeed. Of course, in a year’s time there’s every chance that we’ll be stepping out looking more Ronnie Corbett than Prada model and feeling a bit silly with it, but I have faith in Miuccia’s vision.